SAN ANTONIO – After nearly a year of naming Ohio State the leader in his recruitment, 5-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah has committed to the Buckeyes.
The country’s top-ranked corner, Okudah chose Ohio State in the fourth quarter of the US Army All-American Game, donning a Block O hat and putting to rest any worries of a surprising upset at the hands of Florida State or Oklahoma, the two schools that made up the rest of his final three. He’s been tabbed as a future Buckeye for much of the last 18 months but that doesn’t mean Okudah wasn’t really considering other schools. Florida State was much more of a threat to the Buckeyes than anyone may have realized.
“I almost committed to Florida State at different times in the process,” he shared with Land of 10. “They have a winning tradition and sold me on some different stuff on the field.”
Almost doesn’t count, which is unfortunate for Seminoles fans but good news for Ohio State. The consistency put forth by the Buckeyes, despite the loss of Chris Ash – who first made a big impression on him – and Tim Beck, who was recruits Texas for Ohio State, helped keep Ohio State out front. Okudah first visited Ohio State in the summer of 2015 and immediately the Buckeyes jumped to the top of his list. A New Jersey native living in Texas, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back said the chance to play in Columbus was a chance to, in some ways, get back home.
“I’ve always been interested in Ohio State,” he said about his decision. “I was interested in a lot of schools, but since I was already from the East Coast, it was kind of like going home, half way.”
Of course, it’s not just about geography, for Texas’ second-ranked prospect, it was about the best chance to succeed on and off the field, no matter who the assistant coaches are in Columbus. He knows the Buckeyes program is set up to set him up.
“They just had the best plan for me,” Okudah said on Thursday afternoon. “With football and life after football. I just had to take it and run with it. It’s a pretty good chance to get away from home, but also in a place that has a family feel. We’re looking at all that kind of stuff. It was a no-brainer.
“There going to always have guys come in and develop guys, it’s always going to be on top. I think as long as (Urban) Meyer is there, they’ll always be on top.”
Ohio State has had six defensive backs leave early for the NFL Draft in the past two years. That kind of success is hard for a top prospect to ignore. However, Okudah said the early departures didn’t play into decision that much at all.
“With my size and technique, I think I can come in and compete with any defensive back,” he said when asked if the favorable depth chart helped the Buckeyes cause. “All I need to do is get into a college weight room and I think I can get on the same level as them.”
With the addition of Okudah, Ohio State now owns a commitment from three of the top six prospects in Texas. The Buckeyes are hot and heavy on the trail of the state’s top-ranked prospect, defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, as well. He is a close friend of Okudah’s and made his official visit to Ohio State with him. Now in the Buckeyes class, Okudah says he and 5-star linebacker Baron Browning and make an earnest pitch to the country’s No. 1-ranked defensive tackle.
“We’re going to put in a lot of work,” Okudah said.
Land of 10 will have more on the commitment of Jeffrey Okudah.